Saturday, May 03, 2008

Chaos, Entropy and Inevitability

Actually the full title of my credo is: Chaos, Entropy and the Inevitability of Death. But just inevitability is OK, too.

Yesterday when I got up and came upstairs to do my computing of the morning the iMac I had been configuring for FFP was giving errors in the software that allows the computer to run Windows. Distressing because the error was on the big file that really is your windows 'disk.' Worse it was locked up even for Apple functions. It gradually responded a little but getting Windows going again was no-go. If I'd taken a Snapshot somehow it got corrupted, too. FFP hadn't started to use the computer, but I'd invested a lot of time installing and configuring software and moving snapshots of the files. I'd also been working on scanning in business card stuff he used to keep in an old-fashioned Rolodex. I'd backed it up once but not my most recent version. (Rule of computers: If there is a crash, you will lose one file's latest version no matter how meticulously you back things up.)

Now the scariest part of this is that, essentially, the computer and software I'm typing this on is identical to the one where the Windows went away. That other computer seems to be running OS X fine (although there are some weird messages so I'm not so sure), but, of course, we are far from evolved enough to rely solely on Apple. Yeah, so the really scary thing is that this (mostly identical) setup that I am, in fact, typing this blog on, has been not only configured and stocked with files. But I've started downloading pictures, updating spreadsheets, refining my environment, updating my journal, etc. Now I also started backing up a bunch of essential files to the Time Capsule and to an Internet backup service. But my last computer, a big ugly slow and low on memory five-year-old (or more) Sony seems as slow as a caveman. Plus, of course, it is now a bit behind on the latest versions of files.

We should expect it, though. Computers are complicated mini-reflections of our lives with lots of tweaks, preferences and files we've created. And there is the inevitablility of the tumbling down. The falling away and erosion until the shiny computer and it's brain that is a mini-you is only and oozing pool of toxic waste.

Death is inevitable, too, but regardless of our situation, whether we are gravely ill or old or seem to be in fairly good shape, we don't know when it comes. And until it does, we are updating files in our heads and making calendar entries planning for the future. Knowing that all is chaos, entropy and inevitability doesn't really buy us anything except a kind of peace, knowing that really we can only keep it together for so long. Hmmm...I was a little disturbed to find that I already had labels for 'death, chaos and entropy.' But you don't come here for the cheer and joy, do you? I didn't think so. Now you can turn away from the computer and go confidently through your day, knowing you have it more together than someone. Me, I have to go play tennis.


deb said...

Well, how about commiseration?

Linda Ball said...

Yes. This blog is all about commiseration. That's it exactly. We are in this together!